Businesses in Oakhurst hoping Caltrans can get HWY 41 open again before tourism season

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If you are heading up to Yosemite you will notice several signs warning drivers that Highway 41 at Fish Camp into the national park is closed. (KFSN)

If you are heading up to Yosemite you will notice several signs warning drivers that Highway 41 at Fish Camp into the national park is closed.

What's caused the closure was a portion of the roadway washed out and eventually collapsed three weeks ago. The incident left a giant hole for crews to fix during one of the wettest years on record.

"It's very extensive work, a lot of digging, were going to have to bring in new material from outside, add new soil to build up that roadway. We're going to have to bring in brand new guardrail in that area, brand new guardrail posts. We have design engineers involved because we not only are we rebuilding the roadway but we have to properly rebuild the slopes," said Cory Burkarth with Caltrans.

Caltrans estimates the price tag to repair and re-open the highway could cost in excess of one million dollars.

In the meantime, a detour thru Mariposa is the only way into Yosemite while Highway 41 remains closed

"Our goal right now is to at least have it open to one-way traffic on March 10th-- around March 10th," said Burkarth.

What happens if repairs are delayed and the closure is extended? Businesses in Oakhurst are staying optimistic but admit they can't afford to miss out on precious revenue once tourism season revs up later this month.

Jerry Rankin manages the local Comfort Inn and said, "If it is still closed during spring break, Mariposa is going to be sold out and smiles. I'm going to be over here with 117 rooms I can't sell."

That is because travelers will be forced to go around Oakhurst and detour through Mariposa instead.

The Visitors Center in Oakhurst is offering special rates on hotels and restaurants right now to encourage tourists to visit their city.
Related Topics:
travelroad repairmadera countyyosemite national parkcaltranshighwaysOakhurst
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